Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing society today. While the threat can sometimes seem overwhelming, digital sustainability is quickly becoming a viable strategy for companies looking to minimize their carbon footprint and other negative impacts on the environment.
What exactly is digital sustainability and how can your organization get started with your digital sustainability efforts?
What is Digital Sustainability?
Digital sustainability harnesses everyday business technology to reduce environmental impact and support sustainable business operations.
This usually involves updating any existing technology systems through digital transformation in order to meet environmental sustainability goals.
Digital sustainability initiatives can take many forms. It might be installing smart sensors connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) on the factory floor. Or it might be implementing artificial intelligence software to provide precise sustainability insights.
Ultimately, the goal of digital sustainability is to minimize the impact that an organization has on the environment.
This may sound like a tall order, but the truth is many businesses are already implementing digital sustainability efforts. Let’s take a look at a few digital strategies to boost sustainability in your organization.
Strategies to Boost Your Digital Sustainability
If your organization is looking to foster greater digital sustainability, three technologies should be considered when developing your strategy.
Artificial intelligence technology is an important tool in the fight against climate change. Thanks to complex data analysis capabilities, AI can help to monitor and control emissions and reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
In the manufacturing space, artificial intelligence can help organizations to predict the size of their carbon footprint and recognize the factors contributing to excess emissions. Perhaps even more appealing is the ability of AI to streamline energy use by accurately forecasting the amount of energy needed to accomplish specific production runs.
Sustainable cloud computing technologies are essential in lowering carbon emissions and energy consumption. An efficient cloud system can drastically reduce energy usage across organizations as physical space requirements and infrastructure needs are reduced.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things can provide organizations with valuable insights into real-time performance using smart sensors. Shipping and logistics, supply chain management, warehousing, and production can all be monitored with IoT technology. These instant insights can help to streamline processes, thereby reducing waste and even lowering emissions.
Enabling Global Digital Sustainability
Digital sustainability initiatives won’t get very far when limited to just one region or community. In order for these climate change fighting initiatives to have the most positive impact, digital sustainability needs to be adopted worldwide.
Digital transformation has already disrupted traditional business models around the globe, driving digital innovation and boosting profits. While these technologies can support sustainability, it’s important to recognize the systemic changes that must be made in order to facilitate global digital sustainability.
The U.N. Environment Programme CODES Action Plan recommends three changes in particular:
- Enable Alignment - Digital technology and sustainability should be aligned by developing standards, providing training, and encouraging collaboration.
- Mitigate Negative Impacts - Emissions, waste, and gaps in access to digital technology must be controlled through sustainable digitalization.
- Accelerate Innovation - Using circular economy principles, workshops, and other investments to advance the development and deployment of digital technologies.
Taken together, these recommendations can help to create a global business environment of digital sustainability. But while these changes make sense for large global organizations, they might not seem appropriate for everyday business applications.
So, what about enabling digital sustainability on a smaller level?
Enabling Digital Sustainability Within Your Organization
Even if you run a small business, you can still enhance digital sustainability in your organization. You might not have a warehouse space to monitor with IoT devices, but chances are, you’re already using some form of software or technological infrastructure that can be made more digitally sustainable.
You can enable digital sustainability within your organization by choosing to partner with environmentally conscious third-party providers for your technology needs. From hosting services to licensed software subscriptions, be sure that your technology partners are committed to digital sustainability.
Digital Sustainability Principles: What to Do Today
Partnering with sustainability-focused third-party vendors is an critical aspect of your digital transformation. Here are some other essential principles of digital sustainability that your organization should consider:
- Commit to Renewable Energy and Reduce Dependence on Fossil Fuels
- Improve Operational Efficiency
- Encourage Responsible Employee Behavior
- Support Regeneration and the Impact Economy
- Embrace Digital Resilience
What Is the Future of Digital Sustainability?
The fight to reduce our growing global carbon footprint and preserve the planet has been going on for decades. Digital sustainability may be a relatively new concept, but the future is bright.
In coming years, we can expect more and more organizations to adopt digital sustainability practices in their operations. Thanks to increased awareness and technological advancements, it’s becoming easier than ever to be an environmentally-conscious company.
As we’ve seen, digital sustainability works to improve efficiencies and reduce waste. This is great for conserving energy and reducing emissions but also translates to cost savings and a better bottom line.
Meanwhile, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability and want to buy from brands that operate responsibly. In fact, consumers across all generations are more likely to support businesses that are sustainable and socially responsible than ever before.
Government regulations will also play a role in the future of digital sustainability. In the US, policies have been introduced to encourage the responsible development of digital assets and limit corresponding carbon emissions. Similarly, the European Union requires all companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions.
Partner with Promevo
If digital sustainability is important for your business, trust the experts at Promevo.
At Promevo, we help you harness the robust capabilities of Google to accelerate your sustainable digital transformation and give your organization the momentum you need to achieve your most ambitious business goals.
We work with you to develop transformative solutions designed to scale with your business as it grows.
With our expert consultation, comprehensive support, and exceptional service from end-to-end, you can accelerate the growth of your business and improve your digital sustainability.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of technology in sustainability?
The role of technology in sustainability is to drive new innovations and solutions to address climate change.